Plans are well underway for the second annual Tour de Guelph, a family-friendly bicycling event for riders of all ages and abilities. Organizers are working hard to plan a bigger and better event, building on the success of the event’s first year.
In that first year, close to 500 riders participated, raising more than $30,000 for The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital and projects supported by the Rotary Clubs of Guelph South and Guelph Trillium.
Two-hundred and seventy riders pre-registered. The weather that day was perfect and organizers were amazed when another 200 riders registered that morning at the tart area located near the University of Guelph soccer fields. “We had to call the University of Guelph Hospitality Services staff twice that morning to increase our lunch order,” says Foundation CEO Suzanne Bone.
This year’s event is happening on Sunday, July 5. There are six routes ranging from 5k to 100k, something for everyone, including a 75k route in memory of local cycling legend George Vettor. Event co-chair Paul Fitzpatrick from the Rotary Club of Guelph Trillium explains, “We hope to raise closer to $60,000 this year. The impact of that will be felt at the Hospital, and through Rotary’s participation, at other local organizations and international projects.”
Organizers are planning scenic and challenging routes, a great vendor fair, volunteer cheering sections, a delicious lunch…and the opportunity to make a difference in your community and further afield.
“So far we have 70 riders registered – up 140 per cent from this time last year but a long way from our goal. We encourage people to go to www.tourdeguelph.ca and register. Set up a fundraising page and help us help our community,” Bone says.
Cynthia Walker-Parks is a member of the Rotary Club of Guelph South and the event’s other co-chair. “It’s such a great collaboration,” she says. “We have the two Rotary Clubs, the Foundation, the City, the University, Cambridge’s Tour de Grand, our sponsors, riders and volunteers, and together we are building a stronger community.”
So what are you doing July 5? Pick your route, round up your friends and family, do some fundraising (great prizes for our top fundraisers) and plan to join us.
The idea for the event began two summers ago, when then 69-year-old Guelphite, Terry Manning, cycled across the United States raising money for The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital along the way. He inspired David Parr, who sits on the Foundation’s Planned Giving Committee with Manning. With Manning’s support, Parr hatched the plan for a community-based bicycling event in Guelph. Enter the Rotary Club of Guelph South, then the Rotary Club of Guelph Trillium, and Tour de Guelph was born.